Canada has some of the most sought after climbing in the world. From east coast fjords to west coast sounds, every bump, hill, wall and peak has its own character and story. Canadians have been pushing the limits on their home turf for decades, but they have also been making important climbs around the world. Here are a few of the sends that made headlines in 2013.
Sarah Hueniken on Musashi
In April, 2013, Sarah Hueniken became the first North American woman to climb M12 with her ascent of Will Gadd’s Musashi, in the Canadian Rockies.
Raphael Slawinski is Canada’s top technical winter climber, having proved it time and time again. In spring of 2013, Slawenski established the direct line of Man Yoga, M7+, on the Stanley Headwall, grading it a modest M8+, WI5+, the route has not been repeated.
Castles in the Sky
Sonnie Trotter found the “sweetest line” on Castle Mountain, near Lake Louise this summer. His efforts resulted in one of the hardest multi-pitch routes in Canada, Castles in the Sky, 5.14.
Squamish has always been the scene of cutting edge routes. Jeremy Smith’s The Bull, 5.14R, at Murrin Park, proved once again that west coast granite has much to be discovered.
Speed Record on Grand Wall
Marc Andre-Leclerc appeared on the national climbing scene this spring. A Squamish local, he applied his bold climbing and technical ability to cutting edge solos, including his Grand Wall speed-solo record.
Hands down, the climb of the year in the Rockies was the ascent of The North Pillar of the North Twin. It was first climbed by David Cheesmond and Barry Blanchard in 1985. After 28 years and a number of attempts, North America’s two leading alpinists, Jon Walsh and Josh Wharton, climbed the 1200-metre, 5.11+, A2, for its second ascent.
Leslie Timms Climbed Above the Clouds, 5.13, adding a new traditional-mixed route to the classic Ontario crag, Lions Head. A fine line in great style.
Zach Watson was one of Canada’s top youth competition climbers. When he moved to Thunber Bay, he climbed all of the testpiece routes. In summer, 2013, he climbed When Life Gives You Pickles, 5.13, at Mount Godfrey, one of the hardest routes within a thousand square kilometres.
In October, 2013, Quebec’s Jean-Pierre Oullet, climbed Hypothenuse, 5.13, at Val-David, one of the province’s hardest crack lines.
Sphinx Face Solo
In summer, 2013, Rockies local, Cian Brinker, boldly soloed the North Face of Mount Temple via The Sphinx Face. Graded 5.9, A2, Brinker soloed the 1,000-metre route in only a few hours, without a rope. It is the first solo of the route, which is loose and icy. The route climbs moderate ledges to steep chimneys, before topping out on the East Ridge. The North Face of Temple has been soloed via other routes such as the Greenwood/Jones, 5.10, 1,200 m, in less than three hours. Temple is considered the Eiger of the Rockies. The route has had less than 10 ascents.
Vikki Weldon on Blue Jeans
Vikki Weldon projected the Yamnuska five-pitch 5.13 sport climb for weeks before piecing it together. It was the second ascent of the route, which is one of the Rockies hardest multi-pitch.
Canadians Away From Home
Cory Hall on Jungdung Kangri
Canadian Cory Hall has been on an extended “road trip” which took him to the Himalaya in spring, 2013. He made the first ascent of Jungdung Kangri, 6,160 metres in Northern India with James Moneypenny.
Ian Welsted and Raphael Slawinski’s ascent of K6 West was one of the first major Canadian climbs in the Himalaya in a decade, and the first ascent of often-tried peak.
Consistent podium finishes at a number of International competitions has landed McColl third in the world, overall.
Will Stanhope made the third free ascent of The Prophet, 5.14, in Yosemite. He also soloed Separate Reality, 5.12, Sentry Box, 5.12, and Zombie Roof, 5.12. He spent the majority of his summer in the Bugaboos, attempting an all-free ascent of the Tom Egan Memorial Route, which will be the hardest free route in the Bugaboos.
Vikki Weldon on Eulogy
Vikki Weldon made an ascent of Eulogy, 5.14, in Maple Canyon, Utah. She became the second Canadian woman to climb the grade.
Along with being one of the strongest competitors in Canada, Josh Muller is one of the strongest boulderers, having sent King Limbs, V14, in Rocklands, South Africa.